The oPEN Lab project will demonstrate the feasibility of promising technologies, processes and social innovations in real-life communities and settings, leading towards positive energy neighbourhoods.
Positive Energy Neighbourhoods (PENs) are energy-efficient and energy-flexible groups of connected buildings or urban areas which produce net zero greenhouse gas emissions and actively manage an annual local or regional surplus production of renewable energy. PENs seek an integrated, participatory, neighbourhood-based approach to maximise the benefits of innovative energy systems.
These living labs will not only test and demonstrate the interactions of new technologies and develop new design and operational solutions, but also user involvement processes through social innovations. Continuous interactions with key stakeholders, including building owners, tenants, financial institutions and investors, public authorities, the whole construction value chain and the energy sector, will allow the consortium to maximise the relevance of the PEN solutions as well as the viability for a wider replication across Europe. The consortium consists of 32 project partners, which include 12 companies, 9 research organizations, 5 innovation clusters or industry associations, 4 public authorities, 2 facilitators and 1 social housing company.
Role of EnergyVille
EnergyVille offers an attractive environment to foster data-driven innovation for energy research, industrial product development and business creation for the project, i.e. involving innovators to the open calls to be launched in the project. Also, in Genk, the project takes place in the adjacent to EnergyVille district ‘New-Texas’, next to Thor Park, ‘Incubathor’ and T2-campus. The physical connection between New-Texas and the EnergyVille area with the operation of the first (and only) regulatory sandbox on energy innovation in Belgium, enables further experimentation of technology, process and social innovations on the energy system of the future without regulatory burden.